Over the past few years, numerous kitchen appliances with unique functionalities and innovative designs have been introduced, transforming the cooking experience. One of these appliances is the air fryer, which serves as a means of frying food in a healthy way that’s almost free of oil.
Pressure cookers, per contra, have been around for quite some time. These are airtight cooking appliances that, with the aid of built-up steam pressure, can cook food very quickly. Today, we’re to compare air fryers with pressure cookers to give you a solid idea of what both can offer.
Before we start this comparison, though, we feel the need to note that both devices serve pretty different purposes. Put differently, you can’t substitute one for the other. However, what you can do is invest in both devices, as they both compliment each other very well. Let’s get started!
Overview of Air Fryers
Air fryers first hit the kitchen appliances market back in 2010. These compact devices made lots of noise and got all cooking enthusiasts hyped because they presented a healthier alternative to the oil-based frying of food. These innovative devices can cook food with very minimal oil.
So how does an air fryer work, exactly? Air fryers operate quite similarly to a convection oven. A typical device consists of a heating element that, as the name implies, serves as the producer of heat, and a fan that helps distribute the heat provided by the element evenly across the food.
Moreover, air fryers feature perforated baskets where you can place the food. These baskets do a great job of increasing the contact that the food has with the circulating air. Air fryers are pretty efficient when it comes to cooking super-crispy food and keeping all the food’s flavors intact.
Air fryers are also equipped with an exhaust vent that serves as a means of releasing the hot air as the temperature keeps rising, depending on your settings, of course. This is critical to prevent food from getting overcooked. You can easily set the timer and temperature to your liking.
Since air fryers rely on convection heating, these appliances utilize about 80% less oil than their cooking counterparts while still delivering excellent taste and crispiness. Air fryers are also quite smaller than other alternatives, making it easier to reach the desired temperature a lot faster.
Another benefit of being such small devices is that air fryers are extremely easy to manage and transport. And since they cook food comparatively fast, they’ll help limit your time in the kitchen. Just as with any device, different brands produce different products with different qualities.
Overview of Pressure Cookers
Pressure cookers have been around way longer than air fryers, and they’re available in a broad variety of models and designs. Traditional pressure cookers are designed for stoves, whereas a host of stove-independent electric pressure cookers are available for purchase from any store.
The way pressure cookers work is completely separate from that of air fryers. Simply put, these are sealed pots that contain built-up steam. As the steam increases, the pressure within the pot increases, which cooks the food faster as the increase in pressure decreases the boiling point.
Aside from the crease of the boiling point, the built-up steam is forced into the food since the pot is completely sealed, which also aids in faster cooking and excellent moisture retention. Keep in mind that you can’t open the cooker’s lid during operation as that would release the pressure.
Another reason why you shouldn’t attempt to unveil the lid of a pressure cooker as it’s working is that the pressure can be too high that the lid might be blown away, potentially injuring you. If you want to open the lid, you have to release the steam first with the aid of the equipped nozzle.
It’s important to note that traditional pressure cookers are no longer being manufactured and are largely replaced by electric pressure cookers, as they’re much easier to utilize and are equipped with numerous convenient functionalities, including digital display, timers, and many more.
Air Fryer vs Pressure Cooker: Cooking Method
Both air fryers and pressure cookers rely on high temperatures for their cooking. However, both appliances make use of different cooking mechanisms. An air fryer relies on convection heating and the circulation of hot air across the surface of the food in order to cook or fry the food.
Pressure cookers, on the other hand, rely primarily on steam pressure to cook food. One of the setbacks that prevent people from opting for pressure cookers is that they don’t enable the user to monitor the food. Per contra, you can easily check on your food while using an air fryer.
Air Fryer vs Pressure Cooker: Cooking Capacity
If you put an air fryer next to a pressure cooker, it’s clear as day that pressure cookers are fairly more commodious than their counterparts. The most popular air fryer sizes range between 3 to 5 quarts, which is enough to serve a family of 3 to 5 people. Check out the COSORI CP158-AF.
Pressure cookers, on the other hand, are available in numerous different size options, with the most popular ones being 6 to 8 quarts, which can easily cook food for larger families. In search of a commodious, high-quality pressure cooker? You should check out the Buffalo QCP408.
Air Fryer vs Pressure Cooker: Safety
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s important to always check the sealing gasket on a pressure pot for any damage. It can be extremely dangerous to cook with a pot that isn’t sealed properly. This is because of the pressured steam that can blow away the pot, potentially causing injuries.
If you’re cooking with an air fryer, you should be aware that the outer layer of the fryer is likely to be extremely hot during its operation, and touching it can result in burns. In short, you should be extremely careful while handling both of these appliances, or else you run the risk of injuries.
Air Fryer vs Pressure Cooker: Type of Food
Both air fryers and pressure cookers are designed to cook very different types of food, meaning that you can use them interchangeably. Air fryers are designed to cook crispier foods like wings, frier, burgers, and meat in general. Pressure cookers can’t be used for cooking such foods.
You can use a pressure cooker to prepare juicy meals since it relies on high-pressure steam. In short, pressure cookers are designed to cook any meal that needs 1-2 cups of water in order to be cooked. Both tools do a great job of complementing one another, and you should have both.
Air Fryer vs Pressure Cooker: Health
If you’re trying to pick between an air fryer or a pressure cooker in terms of health, you’re really looking at reduced calories vs retained nutrients, respectively. An air fryer does an excellent job of providing you with crispy food with very minimal oil, reducing the number of calories.
Pressure cookers, on the other hand, is one of the best cooking devices to utilize if you’re trying to preserve the nutrients in your food. This is made possible as pressure cookers don’t require a lot of time to cook, and so more of the heat-sensitive nutrients in your food will be retained.
Air Fryer vs Pressure Cooker: Maintenance
When it comes to maintenance, air fryers take the win by storm. Air fryers are relatively smaller than pressure cookers, and so they’re much easier to clean and maintain. All you really need to clean an air fryer is a clean piece of wet cloth that you can use to wipe the device a few times.
With a pressure cooker, though, intensive cleaning is required due to the type of food that these devices are designed to cook. And we’re not just talking internally, you have to clean the cooker externally as well. To add, you must always make sure that the cooker is sealed properly.
Air Fryer vs Pressure Cooker: Pros & Cons
- Energy Efficiency – Due to their small construction, air fryers cook food extremely fast, and so they won’t consume too much power, helping you save both time and money.
- No Excess Oil – Unlike other cooking devices that require lots of oil in order to deep-fry food, air fryers require a minimal amount of oil in order to provide crispy, flavor-full food.
- Excellent Taste – Even though the food cooked by an air fryer might taste weird due to the lack of oil, you’ll find that air fryers do a great job of retaining flavor and nutrients.
- Portion Size – Air fryers are comparatively smaller than pressure cookers, and so they don’t excel in cooking large batches in one go. It all boils down to your model’s size.
- Burnt/Dry Food – Cooking with an air fryer takes quite a degree of finesse, as leaving the food in the fryer longer than needed can result in burnt food or at least dry texture.
- Super-Fast Cooking – Pressure cookers are capable of cooking food in 1/3 of the time required by an air fryer to deep-fry a meal, so they’re better in terms of time-saving.
- Nutrients Retention – There are plenty of ways to cook food, from frying and boiling to microwaving. The most effective of them all in terms of retaining nutrients is steaming.
- Energy Efficiency – No matter what type of pressure cooker you use, be it a gas-based pot or an electric pot, it won’t put a dent in your wallet since it cooks food in no time.
- Difficult Monitoring – Once the pressure cooker starts operating, you can forget about checking the food until it’s done, so make sure you add all the ingredients beforehand.
- Steam Releasing – Even after the cooking process has been completed, you’ll need to wait for the pressure cooker to release all the steam before actually touching the pot.
Air Fryer vs Pressure Cooker: Which Device Is Better?
Both air fryers and pressure pots are designed for different purposes and they both offer a great deal of convenience that cooking appliances lack. Choosing between the two really depends on your needs. Are you looking to cook crispy food? Or are you looking to cook juicy food?
Air fryers are the way to go if you’re looking for a device that can cook deep-fried foods without all of the excess oil. However, if your priority is to cook juicy food that contains virtually all of its nutrients, then you should definitely go for a pressure cooker rather than an air fryer.
Cooking time is another constituent that can help you decide which device to opt for. Looking for a device that can help reduce your time in the kitchen significantly? Go for a pressure cooker, as it cooks in 1/3 of the time that an air fryer takes to cook food. Both are pretty fast, though.
To conclude this comparison between air fryers and pressure cookers, we strongly suggest that you invest in both devices. Most homes already have at least one pressure cooker anyway, and air fryers aren’t really that expensive. So, investing in both would be a sound decision.